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CONNECTION ~ Issue 45, Spring 2007
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In this issue:

State Librarian of California, Susan Hildreth
State Librarian of California,
Susan Hildreth

Update from the State Librarian

After a very hectic fall, December was a bit quieter for me. Early in the month, I was honored to join Yolo County Library staff at their retirement party for County Librarian Mary Stephens. Mary, my first “boss” in California, has been a great role model and mentor for me. After 37 years of dedicated service to Yolo County, she deserves a relaxing and enjoyable retirement with her new husband Les. On December 2nd I attended the grand opening of the Manor Branch in San Leandro. This light-filled building in a dense, urban setting is a jewel for its diverse bay area neighborhood. On December 5th, California State Library (CSL) staff participated in the orientation for new Assembly members by hosting a lovely lunch in Gillis Hall, the main reading room in Library and Courts I. Although we did not lobby for library issues, Special Collections Curator Gary Kurutz provided an entertaining history of the State Legislature and the CSL.

Mid-month, I traveled to Washington for the December 10th - 11th National Library Agenda brainstorming. Under the leadership of American Library Association President Leslie Burger, attendees represented all types of libraries, library interests, and major library partners. At the brainstorming, we developed key themes on library roles and services that libraries can tailor to their various settings. You can find more information on this topic by visiting

I presented my quarterly State Librarian webcast on December 12th and I’ve received excellent feedback from folks statewide. I really enjoy presenting information on the web that our library community finds valuable and interesting! If you missed the live webcast, please check the archived version at

California State Library

California State Library.

Just before the holidays, I attended the December 14th grand opening of the Fairfield-Cordelia Branch Library in Solano County. This building was planned for the convenience of the customers and is in a great location in a suburban commercial center. I had a great holiday in New York City with my daughters, but I’m sorry to say we did not have a white Christmas.

My 2007 got off to an exciting start when I had the honor of attending Governor Schwarzenegger’s inauguration on January 5th. Unfortunately, because of a holiday skiing accident, the Governor had to take the stage in the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium on crutches. I know that he does not like being seen publicly on crutches; and, as soon as he walked on stage, his sons ran up and took charge of the crutches. It was fun to see my San Francisco “boss,” former Assembly Speaker and Mayor Willie Brown, perform as master of ceremonies for the event. My “celebrity sightings” that star-studded day included Tom Arnold and Rob Lowe!

While attending the American Library Association Midwinter meeting in Seattle, my duties as president of the Public Library Association did not leave me much time to sightsee in the great host city of Seattle. But I was lucky to go to several sessions at the Seattle Public Library, a facility that impressed me tremendously. Please be sure to include a tour of Seattle’s library on your next trip to the northwest.

In late January I attended two excellent symposiums in Sacramento. On the 26th the California State University at Sacramento (CSUS) sponsored Visions of Change: Academic Libraries in Transition. I enjoyed listening to many presenters including R. Bruce Miller, the founding University Librarian at the University of California Merced, who, in a talk called, “…what they will be,” (from the University Library’s motto), gave a first-hand glimpse at the work involved in launching a new university library. The Visions for Change speakers showed audience members that academic libraries face challenges similar to those of public libraries. On January 30th, the California Arts Council held its 2007 statewide conference of arts educators, Reflecting ~ Reframing ~ Responding. At the conference, I was lucky to hear keynote speaker Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a native Californian, and a big library supporter. Gioia has reinvented the NEA and is making great strides in supporting all kinds of arts programming in this nation. One can see Gioia’s efforts on behalf of our libraries in the Big Read and other literary initiatives.

I started off February with a trip to Los Angeles and the opening of the Harbor Gateway Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Harbor Gateway is a green building that will make a huge difference in a community that addresses gang violence on a daily basis. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attended the event and remained through the entire opening ceremonies - he is clearly a great library supporter!

February has two holidays for state employees, but I worked on both days! On February 12th, Lincoln’s Birthday, CSL technology consultant Rush Brandis and I traveled to San Mateo to meet with representatives from CENIC, California’s high-speed education network, and the American Library Association’s Office of Information Technology Policy. We hope that CENIC may consider including public libraries in this broadband network and hopefully we can partner on several demonstration projects to see how that would work. I was happy to spend February 19th, President’s Day, at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs attending the SirsiDynix Executive Institute. The Institute offered a number of exciting speakers including Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet and American Library Project; Helene Blowers, Technology Director from Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Library who developed great Web 2.0 training; and Stephen Abram, SirsiDynix Vice President of Innovation and a hit speaker at last fall’s California Library Association Conference.

I had a great trip to Lompoc on Friday, February 23 and met with the Black Gold Administrative Council in the morning, and the Lompoc Library Board of Trustees in the afternoon. I was on hand for the exciting ribbon cutting on Saturday February 24th at the beautiful library in Folsom, which has been planned for over 12 years. On February 26th and 27th, the CSL hosted a research team from the American Library Association Washington office who are investigating broadband connectivity for public libraries nationally, thanks to the support of the Gates Foundation. The team is visiting seven states and California was the first! As I write this column, I am off to the Public Library Association (PLA) Spring Symposium in San Jose. This marks the first time the event has left Chicago and we are proud that PLA chose California as their venue! Have a great spring.

Table of Contents

Update from the State Librarian

State Spotlight: Cal/EPA Library offers research on environment

California History collection highlighted in prominent publications

New and renovated library openings around the state

California Research Bureau partnerships

Simplifying access to online government information and services:
   The State Library teams up to develop a new state portal

Bringing homework help to California students

Oakland Public Library's Dewey Pictorgrams

CCHE projects: Bode State Historic Park

CSL Librarian earns the 2006 Eckard Award

Van Nuys Branch Librarian wins New York Times award

El Dorado Hills Library hailed as "Best Public Project" 2006

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